Downtown Disney Cupcake Showdown: Candy Cauldron vs. BabyCakes NYC

Downtown Disney cupcakes: Candy Cauldron (l.) and DTD BabyCakes NYC (r.).

On my latest trip to Walt Disney World, I decided to put two very different types of cupcakes to the taste test while at Downtown Disney (DTD).

Call it a cupcake challenge. Or even the Downtown Disney Cupcake Showdown, if you will. I ate, side by side, one Candy Cauldron seasonal cupcake and one DTD BabyCakes NYC cupcake, the vegan and gluten-, dairy-, egg-free baked goods store.

To give each cupcake a fair taste test, I chose two different flavors. That way, I could evaluate each cupcake in its own right. I thought if I got two similarly flavored treats – eating them side by side – one would inevitably have to be “better.”

Downtown Disney’s Candy Cauldron cupcake

Downtown Disney is one of my top five WDW candy stops. So how does it rate for cupcakes? For the cupcake showdown, I tried a fall flavor: a yellow cake with cinnamon frosting that measured over one inch in places.  The cake was light-headed-toward dense side of the cupcake continuum, but was consistent in texture. It also offered the mild flavor I associate with a yellow cake.

The frosting had a very slight grainy texture, in part because I took it outside in the heat to snack on. What I mostly tasted in the frosting was the sugar; the cinnamon taste became less noticeable after the first couple of bites. And that’s what I normally think of in a cupcake – a portable vehicle for my sugar rush.

DTD BabyCakes NYC’s cupcake

DTD BabyCakes NYC’s brownie cupcake, with vanilla frosting, contains no dairy, egg, wheat, gluten free. I chose the brownie cupcake because it’s one of their best sellers, along with the red velvet cupcake.

First, I don’t claim the BabyCakes NYC’s cupcake tasted exactly like a “regular” cupcake. It was far less sweet and – like the Candy Cauldron cupcake – fell more on the dense side of the cupcake continuum, but moister. That said, this cupcake was a tasty bit of sweetness in its own right.

The BabyCakes NYC cupcake was smaller, about 75-80% the size of the Candy Cauldron. Most of the difference in size could be attributed to the frosting, as BabyCakes used about 1/2″ or less. The frosting, however, was nicely creamy and had a marked vanilla taste. It was sweet but not overpowering. Again, not like a typical frosting – even though it melted just as quickly in the heat.

I could also taste the difference in the cake portion of the DTD BabyCakes NYC brownie cupcake. It was a subtle difference in texture rather than taste. As for the chocolate flavor? The BabyCakes’ chocolate flavor was subtle, with small pieces of chocolate for extra kick. Better yet, there wasn’t a sugary aftertaste I associate with cheap chocolate.

See the DTD BabyCakes NYC menu

The Real Challenge – Choosing just one Downtown Disney cupcake

As ambitious as is my sweet tooth, I found impossible to finish both cupcakes. They were both worthy of the term dessert.

What are the conclusions of my taste test? First, both are dense cupcakes, so you’ll be happy if that’s the cupcake camp to which you belong. And they’re better cupcakes than I’ve eaten in other places at Walt Disney World, including­ – gasp  – Main Street Bakery at Magic Kingdom, Writer’s Stop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or even the Cupcake Duo at the DTD AMC Theatres Fork & Screen. I’d order from either Downtown Disney place again.

But if pressed to choose just one place for my WDW cupcake fix, it’s got to be DTD BabyCakes NYC. Because I don’t have dietary restrictions, the fact that it’s vegan and free of so many allergens is secondary to its taste.

The taste was more to my liking, more subtly sweet, and relied on its high-quality ingredients for taste. And with DTD BabyCakes NYC, I found the elements I like in a cupcake: a smaller treat that offered a better balance between cake and frosting, a creamy frosting texture with a cake that is both moist and dense.

Want to see another cupcake showdown? How about DTD BabyCakes NYC vs. Starring Rolls?

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to share your Downtown Disney snack finds with Chip and Company readers in the comments!

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  • Christina

    The ones at the Contemporary are good too!

  • Kyle Greggory

    For all the raving I’ve heard about BabyCakes NYC (on blogs of all sorts), I’ve STILL yet to try them!! I’ve been going through a vegan cupcake craze recently, though, so I expect I’ll be visiting them in LA soon :P.

  • CAS

    I don’t think we’ve been to the Main Street Bakery!! Oh, I know one of our stops this visit!!!

  • dkp

    Oh, if we must, we must! It’s our pleasure, really!

  • BabyCakes NYC

    We are honored! Thank you so much for having us participate in this showdown! Keep ‘em coming!